An Iowa teacher was charged with 140 counts of sexual misconduct and abuse involving "numerous children," police said, adding that he could face more charges in the future.
Curtis Van Dam, 35, was arrested Oct. 23 following a complaint alleging inappropriate behavior with a student, according to the Globe Gazette. Van Dam was a fifth-grade elementary teacher at Sioux Center Christian School.
Following his arrest, police charged him with an additional 101 felony and 39 misdemeanor charges. All charges are connected to incidents that took place from August 2013 to October 2017.
The felony charges include: 72 counts of second-degree abuse, 12 counts of third-degree sexual abuse, 14 counts of sexual exploitation by a teacher, and three counts of lascivious acts with a child.
Police Chief Paul Adkins did not identify how many alleged victims there are or their ages, citing an ongoing investigation.
The alleged acts took place at a number of places, including the Christian school.
Van Dam began teaching at the school shortly after graduating from Dordt College in 2004. He was fired Oct. 23, following his arrest.
The Sioux Center Christian School is K-8 and currently has 509 students enrolled for the 2017-2018 school year.
School head Josh Bowar posted a statement about the incident online Nov. 8, according to The Des Moines Register:
We have been told from the beginning that additional charges for a former teacher at Sioux Center Christian would be coming. Today, Mr. Curt Van Dam, was charged with 101 felonies and 39 misdemeanors. We have been informed that he was arrested this afternoon.
On Oct 18, within hours of hearing a complaint, school officials removed Mr. Van Dam from the school and immediately contacted authorities. His employment was terminated on Oct 19 and we have been in full cooperation with civil authorities since. This case is in the hands of our criminal justice system and we trust that justice will be served.
Though the number of charges do not necessarily reflect the number of students, we are grieved again as we hear the extent of the charges. We’ve wept, now it’s time to weep again. We’ve prayed, now we need to continue praying. We’ve brought our anger and fears to the Lord, and now we need to lay those feelings again at His feet.
We need to remember that though the charges are many, it also means that many students are no longer carrying secrets. Kids, we want you to know that we consider you brave for telling your parents, the police, and the interviewers what happened to you. We praise God that your testimony has brought to light a dark secret that none of us adults knew was there. You have played an important role in keeping others safe.
Please know that thousands are lifting you before the throne of your Father in heaven… trust Him to restore you completely.
Police say that more charges could be filed as they continue their investigation into the alleged incidents. Van Dam is being held in the Sioux City County Jail.
Sources: The Globe Gazette, The Des Moines Register / Featured Image: Pixabay / Embedded Images: Sioux City County Jail via The Des Moines Register, Google Maps